Free Right Angle Weave Bracelet Instructions

Dec 5, 2008

Wrestling with RAW

Some beading abbreviations crack me up.  "RAW" (right-angle weave) is one of them.  I told a non-beading friend that I was writing about RAW this week and she paused and then politely said, "I didn't know you were into wrestling."

I laughed, but I thought she might be onto something.  Right-angle weave is one of those love-it or hate-it stitches.  If you love it, you might feel like Marcia DeCoster, a leading expert in right-angle weave, feels.  In a profile published in the May/June 2007 issue of Step by Step Beads, Marcia said:  "RAW is my favorite stitch because it has an amazing versatility.  Depending on how it's embellished it can become fluid or self-supporting.  By changing the size, shape, and color of the beads, I can create entirely new pieces with RAW."   (See the Terracita Bracelet an example of Marcia's work with RAW.)

If you hate it, or find it difficult, then you probably think the comparison to wrestling is justified!  Think about how this stitch is done--two needles moving in opposite directions or one needle that changes direction with each stitch.  Add some too-long or fraying thread, non-cooperative beads, and a needle that won't stay threaded, and you could be easily down for the count.  If this sounds like you, would you mind posting a comment on the website about what frustrates you about this stitch?  There are lots of friendly and experienced beaders on this list who would love to help you!

Double vs. Single?  Which is easier?  Faster? Stronger?

The two types of right-angle weave (single-needle and double-needle) produce beadwork that looks the same.  However, most beaders favor one type over the other.  Here's what Carol Huber Cypher, author of Mastering Beadwork, has to say about that:  "Some beaders who find it confusing to change directions with each stitch, as in single-needle right-angle weave, prefer to weave all their right-angle work using two needles.  On the other hand, I prefer single-needle right-angle weave to cross-needle weave."  She goes on to explain that the only time she had problems with FireLine breaking was in cross-needle (also known as double-needle) right-angle weave.  Carol explains, "Double-needle may work up faster, but it doesn't provide sufficient passes through the beads to hold them together should the thread break." 

I do double-needle RAW (including for my Four Corners bracelet just published in the November/December 2008 issue of Step by Step Beads), but I honestly don't think I have a compelling reason why.  I think it's just habit!  Do you have a preference?  Single or double needle?  Any tips for people who are frustrated by RAW?  Share your opinions on the website.

New Free Project

Egyptian Cuff
Shelley Nybakke

This metal-bead cuff has just the right amount of crystal sparkle that's worthy of an Egyptian princess.  Worked in segments, the multilayer right-angle-weave rectangles are first woven then connected with loops of beads.  For more right-angle weave projects, check out the December 2008/January 2009 issue of Beadwork magazine.  Not only will you find another project by Shelley (a bold Egyptian Collar necklace), but you'll find 6 other projects that use right-angle weave.  (And if you hate RAW, not to worry--there are 14 other techniques covered in this issue!)  Subscribe to Beadwork magazine today.

Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website. 

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MaryG@101 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 8:58 AM
Would love to find the pattern to the four corners bracelet above. Do not wish to purchase magazine. Is it posted for sale in PDF format?
KarenB@178 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 9:08 AM
I love RAW and found that single needle works best for me. I am not a tight beader so I have found that working RAW and going through twice really helps me. I also find it helps to set up a count, ie, add 3, go through 4th, go through 6 (second pass and sets up for the next add). It becomes a mantra while I'm beading and it really goes fast.
Jaelle2 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 9:18 AM
I can do two-needle RAW without any problem. But I find that almost all the projects are for one-needle. And I CANNOT do this! I find it very non-intuitive. Because the path is constantly changing, there is no rhythm to the stitch. I have to sit with the instructions in front of me and keep referring to them. I have actually NOT signed up for classes with teachers I wanted to take because their projects were for RAW. Is there any help for me?
BeadsNWire wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 9:22 AM
I love the RAW, and I love the look of that Four Corners bracelet ya got posted there. :-) I use the RAW quite a bit... too much, perhaps. LOL. The only difference is that I don't use needles.... I use Beadalon stringing wire.
Elaine@161 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 9:24 AM
This is fine, but how do you do layer one? I know absolutely nothing about RAW except to know that I would like to learn.
on Dec 5, 2008 9:36 AM
My favorite bracelet pattern is using dbl-needle RAW. It was easy to learn, too. I've done some other patterns with RAW and like it just fine. I don't know if it's my very favorite, but this one bracelet is a quick gift if I need one. So everyone should try it again if you didn't like it the first time. :)
on Dec 5, 2008 9:39 AM
I'm taking a class with Marcia Decoster March 2009, and the prerequiste is RAW. Help, I don't know how to do it, but am convince with some step by step guidance I will get the hang of it. Thx.
BarbS@39 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 9:50 AM
Although I teach some of my RAW designs, knowledge of the stitch is a pre-requisite since I find it hard to teach to beginners. I have tried enough times to have some good advice. 1. Use larger beads, ideally 3 or 4mm bicone crystals or size 8 seed beads. 2. Use Fireline, especially if you choose to try working with crystals. 3. Look on Fusion Beads' web site for a great tutorial that helps you see how to turn corners and begin a second row, this is one of the best I've seen Remember, it's a powerful stitch and well worth learning due to the infinite possibilities it holds.
MartiH5 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 10:13 AM
I love RAW and switch between single and double needle depending on the project. In my self-taught bubble of thought, I assumed that you use double needle RAW when you don't want your beads to fill up with thread - say when you're using small beads or plan to add embellishment. If there is any loose tension in the piece, that can be remedied with an initial light coat of wax on your thread, or by the additional thread passes when embellishing.
JessicaG@32 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 10:31 AM
I use RAW and I love to look of it but I have trouble when I have to do more than one row across. I always get confused with how many beads to add and what beads I am supposed to go through.
EdNLiz wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 11:03 AM
I'm with you, Comlplik8td Lady! I do what is basically 2 needle RAW with very fine Beadalon (.012) and 4mm Swarovski bicones to make bracelets, earrings and pendants. When I first started making the bracelets, I had no idea that what I was really doing was RAW. I evolved my bracelet technique from a totally different bracelet pattern I found in a magazine about 3 years ago. It was a very open cuff style bracelet and I just kept trying to make it with less and less open space between the beads. When I had finally perfected the technique and began making different color designs to make, I read an article about RAW and discovered that's what I was really doing.
BarbS@39 wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 11:22 AM
Remember each stitch unit shares at least one bead with the previous stitch. When you create a 2nd row, each added unit shares a bead with the previous row and the previous stitch.
bodhikt wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 2:17 PM
""I can do two-needle RAW without any problem. But I find that almost all the projects are for one-needle. "" Look for patterns by Chris Prussing-- she had at least one in the special RAW issue, and she sells on She also has a book on RAW out-- you can get it deeply discounted on Amazon.
SoozH wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 3:03 PM
I tried two-needle RAW by myself at home to begin with. No way... What a disaster of tangling thread and lost pathways! Then I took the mess in to my favorite bead store nearby (Baubles & Beads, Berkeley, CA) -- they're always helpful. Lisa Claxton, who's no longer the manager there (she's taken off for fulltime-beading art/teaching), neatly and briefly straightened me out. How could I not have seen it before? It's so EASY. (I now do single-needle RAW, BTW.) Since then, I've done numerous RAW projects of all sorts (except 3-D), and haven't had the slightest problem. Perhaps all that's needed is a good tutor to straighten out the bumps in the road. I love RAW! ~ Sooz
SoozH wrote
on Dec 5, 2008 3:07 PM
Mysteryscribe wrote: "I have actually NOT signed up for classes with teachers I wanted to take because their projects were for RAW. Is there any help for me?" ``````````````` Yes! Sign up for one of those beginner-level RAW classes! That's what I needed to break through the mystery of RAW. Sometimes you just can't do it on your own. ~ Sooz
kose2 wrote
on Dec 6, 2008 5:00 AM
RAW is one of favourite I use the two needle You can embellish the base in so many ways ,marvelous I just love RAW Tku for the pattern
Lou Ma wrote
on Dec 6, 2008 6:31 AM
I started RAW with two needles, short threads and two colors of beads. It was so easy to see what I was doing. After i got good at doing the pattern I switched to one needle and any color I wanted. It is now one of my favorites for quick and easy projects.
MardiT2 wrote
on Dec 6, 2008 8:24 AM
I don't do RAW very well. Well, not well at all. I STILL have a kit that's in the bag and it's a 3-D type of RAW (well the instructions are hand drawn and not easy to follow). I DO PLAN ON DOING this bracelet, and take my time reading the instructions. From what I saw of the instructions. They look very clear. Thank you. I will also revisit the Right-Angle Weave book that I have and start with the simple flat stitch, and work forward and NOT jump directly to 3-D RAW (MY BAD). I do plan to take the advice of BarbS who wrote: 'Remember each stitch unit shares at least one bead with the previous stitch. When you create a 2nd row, each added unit shares a bead with the previous row and the previous stitch.' Thank you BarbS, this is great advice. I believe that this advice will assist me in focusing on how the beads are arranged when it comes to doing 3-D RAW projects. Thanks again.
bjnich1 wrote
on Dec 6, 2008 1:00 PM
I like to use the one-needle method of RAW only because I never seem to get the tension tight enough. Plus, I get confused when I'm joining row 2. The first row I can handle pretty well, but after that it's beyond me 8-< Maybe if I paid attention a little closer...? bj
hannahminnea wrote
on Dec 7, 2008 8:10 AM
To teach myself (with a book) I used big "seed" beads from a craft store and figured out that there are 2 things to be aware of when doing this stitch single needle. 1: first row, you start with 4 beads then finish the row with all 3-bead additions. Next row and all subsequent rows is: start with 3 beads and continue adding only 2 for each stitch. So there is a simplified pattern, I call it 4-3-3-3 and then 3-2-2-2. I always do double passes on the end clusters. I don't have any in front of me right now, so I can''t give a tip for which direction to go in, but I'll try to post later because I have all kinds of tricks for remembering the directional switch. Also, I kept working and ripping the darn thing out until I got it right. KV
deb@226 wrote
on Dec 8, 2008 5:18 PM
I am a beginning beader and I have been finding the instructions on Beading Daily very confusing - both on the projects (free and otherwise) and the instructions in the columns. Anyone else have that problem, or is it just me? I would like to see more colors or directional arrows to guide me.
mabel@12 wrote
on Dec 8, 2008 10:43 PM
i have been doing RAW for years ... with double needles or two ends of a nylon thread when beaded bags were the fad in the late sixties! i learnt it from my mom. she told me - do an 8-shape with the thread. i imagined that all the time and have been doing RAW happily. single needle confuses me sometimes so double is for me!
MaryH@172 wrote
on Dec 10, 2008 3:39 PM
Ease of use aside, I think single and double have two different uses. Single uses a lot more thread, more thread passes through the bead, is more rigid and takes more time. You'll want to use single for strength (if you're using thread), and reliability if it's going to take a lot of weight - perhaps a beaded bag that will hold stuff, or a beaded bead that may get a lot of use, or a chain of beaded beads. Since you can cut it, you might want to use it for sculpture. Double would be good for wire weaving, or a fabric that takes a long time.
MimiM@7 wrote
on Dec 11, 2008 10:57 AM
A couple of hints on RAW. When I use fireline, I tie the loose end that just went through the needle in a knot. That way it doesn't come unthreaded immediately. After the first few passes, the knot smoothes out and goes through easily. A way of thinking about doing it single needle is this. As I look at that last bead from the unit that I'm adding on to, I look at the direction that the thread is coming out from it. (wish I could draw you a picture!). I add my beads (2 or 3 depending on which row I'm on) and imagine that I'm completing a "loop". That means I go into that bead from the opposite side that it's coming out of. This way I don't worry about figuring out which way to go, it's automatic. Hope that helps someone! Mimi
ladyleadfoot wrote
on Dec 17, 2008 11:56 AM
the very first class that i ever took taught me to do both square stitch and RAW (single needle version). the square stitch was one bead at a time; the RAW was using 3 beads to a side, a total of 12 to start. it confused me a bit at first, but once i got the hang of it- easy! i also like the strength that is provided by the multiple passes, as i bead tightly, and also am very hard on my jewelry when i wear it. i have since learned to do it with two needles, but definitely prefer single needle. i tend to lose track of where i am when i am dealing with two needles. my hands get confused, and my piece gets tangled. single needle is simply a matter of remembering to do a figure eight, first one direction, then the other. i think it's funny when i hear some of the people at the shop where i take most of my classes holler when they hear that something is made with RAW. they'll rave on about how beautiful a piece is, then they hear that it's RAW- oh my! they honk, cry, wail, and moan, "Oh no! Not RAW! That's so hard!" they're such a wonderful bunch of people, though, as are the teachers, too- oh so patient with us. i am not prejudiced toward single needle simply because i learned it first; i have used both a great deal, and my hands (and brain) simply like single needle best.
ladyleadfoot wrote
on Dec 17, 2008 12:00 PM
one other thing that i forgot to mention: i find that i get stuck at least twice as often using two needles (usually a lot more than twice as much!) than i do with a single needle. i haven't been able to bead once without sticking myself with my needle. don't know why, but i always keep a tissue and a band-aid handy. take care and God bless. smiles- ladyleadfoot!!!
NancyB@5597 wrote
on Dec 22, 2008 1:03 PM
I recently took a weekend's worth of classes with Maggie Meister. She loves this stitch because it's so versatile. One thing she pointed out was that it is a perfect way to set up for peyote stitch. From what, I can't remember. Anyway, I have trouble with RAW because the beads don't stay in their nice little boxes and it looks awful while you're doing it. But Maggie said that she once had a student who had started beading by learning RAW first, and then all the other stitches came easily because she had no preconceived notion of thread paths. Wise, wise woman. So I decided that I am going to try to do so much RAW that I become good at it, because it is an amazing, versatile stitch that one can built from and use to switch from one stitch to another when plain or circular or tubular peyote, brick or whatever stitch just doesn't do it. I want to be comfortable with all the stitches.
MsQ wrote
on Jan 19, 2009 11:37 AM
I use RAW a LOT. I make beaded ornament covers, and I find RAW very versitile. I use beading thread, and one thing I have to be careful of is splitting the thread when I go through a bead the second time. If I split the thread and have to redo for some reason, taking out the stiches can be ...ah... challenging. I use one needle - I find the two needle thing confusing and there's too much thread hanging around and getting tangled. One thing I do to keep the beads neatly aligned is after I make the original run of RAW, I go back and add another bead at the end of the vertical bars. It makes the piece more rigid, looks more finished, keeps the spacing consistent, and lets me run a thread through the outside edge without showing.
leftyspinner wrote
on Mar 8, 2011 7:19 PM

I love right angle weave, but I only do it the single needle way.  I don't think I'm coordinated enough to use two needles - and my other hobby is figure skating.

pbaruch wrote
on Nov 18, 2012 2:12 PM

I have spent weeks trying to master RAW. I've used 5-10 different tutorials and found every one of them lacking in one way or another.

Does anyone know of a "RAW for Dummies?